Handpan Art and Evatek Cases - by ANAPAZ

In a recent post here at HPM we highlighted the custom-designed Evatek service that Hardcase Technologies have been offering via a network of artists - who are able to take what is one of the most respected travel-cases in the world of Handpan, and turn them into true one-of-a-kind works of art.

And while that post featured primarily the work of fellow Evatek artist, Pam Gogh - this post, aims to showcase the art of another Handpan-centric creative, ANAPAZ.  Who has not only been producing some stunning custom-made Evateks, but has also been experimenting with engraving Handpan shells themselves - as can be seen below - which while not tuned yet, is perhaps something that we might see, a little further down the road...



And the cases themselves, in addition to being fully-functional back-worn Handpan-protecting shells - are sights to behold.  If the Ninja Turtles were to get all dressed-up pretty, in their very finest prom pomp, and regalia - likely, that particular spectacle; would look something like these...  

 

' I paint with my hands but my feelings, emotions and my intuition are in charge; the hand is just a tool. I never know how a painting is going to look like in the end. It is always a surprise to me. ' - ANAPAZ

For more information on Romania-born artist ANAPAZ, and her Handpan-themed artwork (and more), you can visit her over at her official website: HERE.

Symphonic Steel Iskra - That First Generation Hang Sound Revisited?

While the trend in recent years has seemingly been to refine the sound of the Handpan into its most “perfect” form.  U.S. Handpan makers, Symphonic Steel, with their recent “Iskra” model - have set their sights upon revisiting the classic sound of the first generation PANArt-made Swiss Hang.  And "using material and tuning techniques that are very similar to those of the originators in Bern" - attempt to replicate its sound.

In the march towards perfection and refinement, the sounds of original Hang have come under some criticism in recent times - particularly earlier Hanghang - now that there are many other, newer, instruments to choose from.  But it’s certainly worth remembering that many veterans of the Handpan scene today were first enchanted by the sounds of PANArt’s earlier instruments.  And that arguably, no Handpan since, has come close to creating the near-rabid frenzy of passion, love, and need, that those early Hang did, when people first began to stumble upon them.

And returning to the newly introduced Iskra model of Handpan by Symhonic Steel, if that early Hang sound is something that you’ve been searching for, without the likely heftier price-tag of an original, Symphonic’s Iskra Handpan, do a good job (in our opinion) of capturing a similar mood, and emotive-edge...



Iskra, means “Spark”, in Slovak.  And these pans are named in reverence of the original creations of PANArt that inspired them - with even the Iskra logo having a similar roughly-etched quality to it - reminiscent in tribute of earlier Hang brandings.  

And before moving on to listen to more videos of Iskra Handpan in different tunings over at the Symphonic Steel YouTube channel (should you choose to do so) - having heard an Iskra in Pygmy tuning above, below you can listen to an original first generation Pygmy Hang for comparison...



For more information you can find Symphonic Steel at Facebook: HERE.  Or find their official website: HERE.

Isthmus Instruments - Handpan from the Rabbit-Hole

Based in Madison, U.S.A., Isthmus Instruments, are the creations of one of the first female Handpan-makers, Jenny Robinson.  Like many Jenny first discovered these singing-steel UFOs via YouTube - and in an article over at Isthmus.com, Jenny Robinson explains how she “fell down the rabbit-hole", and "fell in love with the sound” upon first hearing them.  And it wasn’t long after, having decided that this was something that she needed within her life, calling upon her machinist-background, Jenny setup her own Handpan-building studio - and would dedicate the next four years (and counting) of her life, to the art of building and tuning Handpan.  And while by her own admission the journey between the points of enthusiastically diving in head-first, and the level she now finds herself at, led to the accumulation of a "grave yard of disaster pans" on-route (as every fledgling maker likely collects). Every mistake was clearly well learned from - as can be heard in the most recent offerings of Isthmus Instruments - one of which; you can take a listen to below...



In addition to building beautiful instruments, building a community around them is also something that is notably of importance to the Isthmus Instruments team - who in mid 2017 hosted the first Handpan gathering in the midwest (which you can check out below) - which they hope to hold annually moving forwards...



And we'll finish off this post by sharing one last recent video from the Isthmus Instuments team, featuring a pair of their more recent creations, including a stunning looking (and sounding) custom-made, golden-tree-adorned; C Aeolian...



To find Isthmus Handpan for sale you can visit their ETSY store: HERE. Or for the latest updates you can find them over at Facebook: HERE. Or over at their official website: HERE.

Handpan Sound-Dampening Dust Covers

We stumbled across these here at HPM a few months back, thought they were kind of cool, and then got distracted, and moved on to other things.  And it wasn’t until we more recently checked out one of Handpan-legend, Manu Delago’s recent videos (which we’ll embed a little below), in which he makes good use of one of these multi-function sound-dampening dust-covers, that we took pause to give them second-thought.

Made from cotton and elastane, these elasticated Handpan covers not only serve the purpose of keeping the playing-surface of your Handpan dust-free, but they also have an interesting effect on the sound when played through the cover.  As can be seen in the following short video by Elfi and Oona, (who make and sell them)...



And at time of posting they can be purchased for the cost of 35 Euro as part of a Handpan care-kit that also includes a microfiber cloth impregnated with coconut and mineral oils, for helping to keep your Handpan rust free.

And to hear how one of these can be put to great effect to create a different sound for playing, you can take a listen to Manu Delago’s latest video (mentioned above), Mesmer Mesmerising...

Three Hot Handpan Cover Songs

To paraphrase the words of “Mugabe”, from the Zoolander movie franchise, “Handpan covers - so hot right now!”.  In fact, over at our own Handpan Tube Facebook page, over the last month or so, the majority of the most popular videos we've shared, have been covers. Because while it’s always truly awe-inspiring to hit that play button and be met with a truly beautiful, original, Handpan composition - there’s definitely something cool in hearing some popular favourites getting the Handpan-treatment.  

An so with this post, we’ll be sharing three of the most popular Handpan covers of recent times…

Adele - Rolling in the Deep

Courtesy of Asmus Drejer and Mikkel Hæk, this cover of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”, proved to be a Handpan Tube favourite.  It's quirky, and it's fun, which is what makes it a favourite with us too.

YouTube description: ‘We decided to record our version of Adele's "Rolling In The Deep" in a parkinglot in Silkeborg City. All reverb in the video is 100% natural. It's was amazing playing down there. We made a massive effort to make this video as good as possible, and we are pretty pleased with the result.

I'm playing a Pi Handpan tuned in Cm.
Asmus is playing a LAG "4 Seasons" 300DCE Autumn’...



Sting - Fragile

As beautiful as it is fragile, this cover of a Sting classic is something not to be missed.  From the Handpan to the vocals, Philippe Gagne’s rendition hits all the right buttons.

YouTube description:  ‘When I was younger, both my parents were listening to a lot of 70's and 80's classics, this one being one of them.
This song always make me think about my father, so here it is for him.

Played on Ayasa Flora E/ A B C# D E F# G# A B transformed into Romanian Hijaz adding C - D# - G respectively.’...



Nine Inch Nails - Right Where it Belongs

Last, but certainly not least, comes this cover of “Right where it belongs”, originally by Nine Inch Nails.  With Mumi on Handpan you know you can’t go wrong - we’ve been fans of Mumi here at HPM for a good while now and she never disappoints, but with this track, once again, she’s gone “next level”.

YouTube Description: ‘Composed by Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails)
Performed by Giacomo Cella (Jacky 0) and Emma Grassia (Mumi)
Mixed by Giacomo Cella (full description at YouTube)...

Handpan Makers United - Seeking to Protect the Handpan(?)

We’ve been receiving a lot of news updates this past week or so from U.S Handpan makers, Pantheon Steel.  Their new generation of Halo are now hitting the market, and they also released word that they were generously offering up a new building technique that they’d developed to the public, free-and-gratis.  But arguably, it is their most recent announcement, regarding the formation of an association calling themselves, “Handpan Makers United”, that has been the most interesting.  

Handpan Makers United is seemingly a coalition of prominent names, and organisations from within the world of Handpan, from respected makers, through to festival organisers, players, and those in the accessories market.  And their recently published mission statement describes their grouping as follows:

‘Advocates for protection and cultivation of the global tuned steel community through spread of truthful information, collaboration, camaraderie and free creative expression within the Handpan Art form.’

Reading through their mission statement further, and a key part of their plans appear to be aimed at the dissemination of ‘helpful building practices’, with some of the key-players within this newly formed super-group, such as Pantheon Steel, and Saraz, in particular, having already shared an abundance of useful information, images, and instructionals, between them, online, and off. So for those in the building-game, or considering getting into it, this is a resource that is likely to be carved out of solid-gold.  With the Handpan building references section already containing a wealth of useful and interesting links through which to browse.

However...

Outside of that, there are some slightly worrying aspects to the association's mission statement, for our personal tastes (whatever they’re worth) - with words and phrases such as “protection”, and “spread of truthful information” being littered throughout it.  

As a general rule, whenever somebody offers to sell us the "truth", we usually ask first, “whose?”. And with the Handpan now having reached its late-teens, and seemingly having done pretty well for itself thus far - sprouting off here, and budding off there; in a very natural way, to create the vibrant and varied world that it already has around itself - you kind of have to ask yourself - is the Handpan really in need of protection, and if so, from whom?  PANArt (The Hang-makers) themselves have been trying to exhibit post-sale control over how their own creations are perceived, and played for years, with (arguably) very limited results.  They are well-known to have become hugely protective of their own intellectual-property in recent years - yet for a hundred Euro a time, you can pretty much slap their brand-name over whatever the hell you like (or thereabouts).  

A quick look through the founding-members of the United Handpan Makers reveals no real surprises - being primarily made-up of established, already interconnected, U.S.-based makers, with a strong “community” ethos.  Combine that with the facts that the likes of Tzevaot presumably found their invitations to join lost in the mail, and that individuals usually don’t feel the need to combine, and to consolidate power and influence, without a very specific agenda to push - and it doesn’t feel like too much of a stretch to imagine that we might be seeing certain instruments tagged with the coveted (and self-regulated?) "United Handpan Makers Approved" stamp, in the near-to-distant future...

Regardless though, and whatever should become of this league of united Handpan makers, and co. they are almost certainly worth a follow over at Facebook - and a browse of their website - where likely you will find treasure (and possibly a little propaganda) awaiting you.

Dreaming a Handpan into Existence - Lucid Dreaming

Over the years we’ve stumbled across a number of imaginative ways that some have utilised to make their own Hang-like instruments on a budget.  Such as this guy’s homemade plastic-bottle Handpan-esque creation.  

But if you’re short on cash, and even the idea of messing around with sellotape and empty soda bottles seems like too much hard work, you’re still not without options - according to The Lucid Guide over at YouTube, who purportedly simply dreams his Handpan into existence, and composes Handpan music while he sleeps…

Lucid Dreaming

A lucid dream is a dream during which the dreamer is aware of dreaming. During lucid dreaming, the dreamer may be able to exert some degree of control over the dream characters, narrative, and environment.

Composing Handpan Music While You Sleep

Faced with the dilemma of only having partial access to their friends Handpan,yet still wishing to compose on the instrument even with the pan out of reach, The Lucid Guide simply manifests his friends pan into existence when in a dream state, using the power of lucid dreaming.  Stating about the following recording: ‘Having only limited access to the Hang Drum used within this recording, roughly 80% of my practice with this instrument has occurred during lucid dreams’.



A related article found over at www.world-of-lucid-dreaming.com, by Daniel Love, describes the Handpan as being the perfect tool for experimenting with the ability to practice and explore creativity within the dreamscape.  And documents his experiences at integrating the arts of lucid-dreaming, and Handpan composition.  With one particularly interesting anecdote being that after recording, and sharing his efforts online, the NaturePan maker, the same brand of Handpan that Daniel had been borrowing from a friend, and also dreaming into existence, stumbled across his work. And decided to donate Daniel one of their instruments for real, in order to help further his experiments.

Solid evidence, that lucid, or even more tangible, you literally can dream a Handpan into your hands - If you really set your mind to it.

Read more: The Dreamlike Music of the Handpan - by Daniel Love

Tāla Handpans - Made in London

Back in the early days of the first wave of new post-Hang Handpan-makers, when new tuners and their creations were just beginning to pop-up across the globe, from Germany, to Spain, the U.S., and Italy.  Being UK based here at HPM - oh how we waited eagerly for the first home-grown maker(s) to appear.

Yet while us Brits may have been slow-to-start (or at least to show our cards), English fans of the Handpan in search of an instrument, just a few short years on, now find themselves with a decent number of options from which to choose.  And with this post, we’re proud to introduce to those who have yet to discover them, the London-made, Tāla Handpans.  Evidence that with little more than a hammer, a small shed in which to wield it, and a whole lot of persistence - you can literally beat your dreams into existence...  



The Story of Tāla Handpans


Based in Teddington, West London and working from a rather small shed in my back garden, I picked up a hammer September 2015 ready to go to battle with the process of trying to create these amazing instruments that I fell in love with many years ago. After a few months banging my head against the wall and wondering where the hell I was going wrong, questioning if I was actually loosing my mind hammering a sheet of steel in a 6X4Ft shed.. a break through happened.. I managed to tune a rather shady note into what I would call a pan shaped object :-D I guess that event and glimmer of hope kept me going... people questioned my sanity but months later Tāla Handpans was born..

Life is to live and learn, put your mind and effort to any subject and anything is possible’.

A “Tala”, literally means a "clap, tapping one's hand on one's arm, a musical measure". It is the term used in Indian classical music to refer to musical meter, that is any rhythmic beat or strike that measures musical time. The measure is typically established by hand clapping, waving, touching fingers on thigh or the other hand, verbally, striking of small cymbals, or a percussion instrument - in the South Asian traditions. Along with "raga" which forms the fabric of a melodic structure, the tala forms the time cycle and thereby constitutes one of the two foundational elements of Indian music.



For more information on Tāla  Handpans you can find them over at Facebook: HERE, or via YouTube: HERE.

The Sounds of Nibiru - Singing Steel for the End of the World

With claims by conspiracy-theorists, or truthers (depending on which side of the fence you stand) growing in number, and magnitude, that the coming of Nibiru will soon be upon us.  With this post, we’ll be taking a look at the work of Ukraine-based steel-tongue-drum manufacturer, SupernovaWorkshop.  And in particular, their “Planet X” inspired model (featured below).

But first, for those who don’t know - Nibiru, is said to be a large planetary object, or planet, roughly four times the size of Earth, that will, at some point in the near future, pass close by, or even collide with, our own home. destroying it in the process, in a cataclysmic-apocalyptic-doomsday-extinction-event (nasty stuff).  And while the prophesized coming of Nibiru might have a pretty shaky origin-story, coming in the form of a warning to a human-contactee named, Nancy Lieder, via a mysterious race of Aliens known as the Zeta - that has not stopped it from gaining popularity.  With YouTube evidence supposedly showing this mysterious planet approaching
being bountiful, and suggestions that tunnels such as those recently built under the Denver International Airport being an attempt by the Elites to escape mankind's coming fate, aplenty.  

The Sounds of Nibiru - by SupernovaWorkshop

Considering that our own invitation to the tunnels, or space-faring life-rafts of the Elites is likely to be a long time coming - we will likely need to find other ways to fill our final hours. And with that in mind, perhaps there are worse ways to spend your final moments, than in playing something contemplative, comforting, or perhaps even celebratory (depending on your mindset) - with the aid of one of the SupernovaWorkshop's homemade Nibiru themed steel tongue drum (pictured right). Tuned to an Aeolian sound-model, and featuring a somewhat unusual double-tongue design...



Find Nibiru Drums by SupernovaWorkshop for sale over at ETSY: HERE

Or take twenty minutes out to learn what the effects of a rogue-planet like Nibiru entering our Solar System might have (even with the worst case scenario of a direct collision avoided) for the human-race - below...

Handpan Meet Furry - The Fox and the Hound-Pan

Here at HPM we love witnessing the Handpan make its way into all manner of situations and communities, the more obscure the better, and in particular, those that sit outside of the core Handpan-community (for reasons we’ll illustrate further below).

If like us, you’re a big fan of the long-running HBO television series, Entourage, you’ll likely be at least partially familiar with the concept of Furries (see picture right).  But for those who aren’t, a “Furry”, is an enthusiast for animal characters with human characteristics, and in particular, a person who dresses up in costume as such a character or uses one as an avatar online.  And the following video by YouTube user, Sparxboi, is perhaps the first documented meeting between a Handpan, and a bona fide Furry.



The Handpan being played by Sparxboi above is a Vietnam-made, Pansula Handpan.  And while these may have earned themselves a fairly questionable reputation, primarily due to the fact that at least one person involved with these instruments has been known to use misleading videos in the past (the videos of other makes of Handpan) to sell their instruments.  This particular Pansula Handpan, is one of the nicer ones we’ve personally heard (particularly when you consider the dude is wearing giant Furry-hands). With other more recent Handpan offerings from Vietnam also showing signs of improvement.  

Which is why, going back to the point we made at the beginning of this post, it was unfortunate to once again stumble across a member of the blessings-of-love-and-light brigade, in the form of Pandora Pantam-man, Martin Berman, offering the following in the way of encouragement to a Furry who was clearly enjoying himself…


It's always a pleasure to find yourself a part of such a loving and nurturing community. Here at HPM, if we can't look out for the under-dogs, you can be sure that we're going to be looking out for the under-foxes (or Furries in fox outfits at the very least). And while we're not saying that these are the best sounding Handpan on the market by any means, regardless of your thoughts, if you come across somebody out there enjoying life, playing some Handpan, and generally having a ball - there really is no need to wander on up, and spit in their face...

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